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Strategic partnership shields Chinese-Russian trade relations from snags, expert says

It is noted that both China and Russia are experiencing growing pressure from the West, facing the negative factors that have arisen in the international arena due to the Ukrainian crisis

BEIJING, August 18. /TASS/. The comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Russia removes the risk of significant problems in trade and economic cooperation between the two countries, Professor Zou Zhibo, deputy director of the Institute of World Economics and Politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said in an interview with TASS.

"I think that, in general, there are no problems in Chinese-Russian trade. This is especially due to the bilateral strategic partnership, which is based on mutual stability," he stressed, commenting on the development prospects for economic relations between the two countries.

"China and the Russian Federation maintain [comprehensive] strategic cooperation with each other, so there will be no problems in the field of trade and the economy in the future," he added.

However, the expert believes that the intensity of Chinese-Russian trade and economic cooperation is still underperforming compared to the level of development of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Despite the absence of any significant bottlenecks in establishing trade and economic relations, "some problems of a technical nature" remain.

In particular, Professor Zou pointed to the presence of red tape at the local level, which reduces the effectiveness of economic interactions. "That’s a big problem; it has become a headache for many Chinese businesses and investors. It negatively affects investment, business and consumption. However, at the level of the [central] government, apparently, we do not have such a problem," he said.

The Chinese political analyst also noted that both China and Russia are experiencing growing pressure from the West. He mentioned the negative factors that have arisen in the international arena due to the Ukrainian crisis. "However, in the end, this only stimulates Russian-Chinese interaction," the expert noted.

Zou recalled that Western countries, led by the United States, are trying to "completely break ties between Russia and the outside world in the field of energy and in the economic area" overall.

"For example, there was a break or a sharp decline in relations between Russia and the West in the field of trade in electromechanical goods, electronics, and energy. However, China has a huge market, and we can compensate for that deficit in full," he said.

"China is the only country in the world that has the entire value chain. Everything is here, anything can be produced here," the expert stressed.

Prospects for trade cooperation

According to Professor Zou, this year the trade turnover between China and Russia will easily reach the target of $200 billion and may even exceed this figure. He also expressed confidence that the dynamic development of Chinese-Russian trade will be sustained over the long term.

"First, this is the result of the [strengthening of the comprehensive] partnership between China and the Russian Federation, especially considering that [Chinese President] Xi Jinping, despite huge pressure from the West, visited Russia in March. Under the leadership of the two countries’ presidents, our cooperation is continuously strengthening and will be strengthened to an even higher level," the expert said.

The expert also recalled the need to develop joint trade and logistics projects that would significantly reduce costs. He stressed that the grain corridor from Russia to China, the development of the Arctic shipping route, and the creation of new transport routes will make great contributions to the growth of bilateral trade between the two countries.

According to Chinese customs data, in January-July 2023 trade turnover between Russia and China increased by 36.5% year on year, reaching $134.1 billion. Exports from China to Russia increased by 73.4% over the first seven months of the year, amounting to about $62.54 billion. Imports of Russian goods and services increased by 15.1% to $71.